Miramar, Argentina – Cheap Place To Live In South America
Any traveler who has ventured within its borders the last couple of years will exclaim emphatically: “Argentina is no longer cheap!” And they are correct.
As a whole, the country is slowly but surely gaining pesos to peso with its expensive neighbors Chile (to the west) and Uruguay (to the northeast) yet there are still a few desirable locations to hunker down for a year or two on a budget of $800 USD per month or more; Miramar, Argentina being one of them.
Editor’s Note: Due to increasing costs and changing dynamics of the town (many new full-time retirees relocating from Buenos Aires) Miramar is not included in our Cheap Places to Live section for 2012. A minimum of $1000 USD per month would be best for a long-term stay in Miramar.
You may have never heard of Miramar, Argentina before (unless you are a die-hard surfer) but most likely you have heard of Mar del Plata, Argentina – popular summer resort on Argentina’s Atlantic coast just five hours from the Capital Buenos Aires. Travel Guide to Mar del Plata
Miramar is a short 40 minute drive (45 km/28 miles) from Mar del Plata (and its upscale shopping & vibrant nightlife) and has hourly bus service to and from Mar del Plata as well as first class direct service to Buenos Aires (6 hours), Bariloche (25 hours) and other tourist hot spots.
Miramar is one of the best small town locations in Argentina to live with children; affectionately called “The City of Children”. There is a skate park, swimming pool (with swim team), gyms with children’s classes, soccer league, etc. A small casino and a few local pubs (many in summer) keep the adults happy most weekends (and weeknights!). The two local cinemas are open full-time only in summer with some weekend showings (and live entertainment) in winter but Mar del Plata has two shopping malls, both with multiplex movie theaters and an abundance of nightclubs and live show theatres.
There is crime and violent offenses do occur but are rare. In 2011 a teen was stabbed to death and posters with his photograph demanding justice – Justicia por Emiliano! – were plastered all over town, in cab windows, on doors of private homes. The offenders were caught by police.
Important to note is that crime in Argentina is increasing throughout the country. In the past two years many older retirees have moved to Miramar to escape the high-level of crime in Buenos Aries. For more information read: Living in Argentina – Crime & Safety
You can rent a studio or one-bedroom apartment for $150 USD to $200 USD per month, two to three-bedroom house or apartment for $300 – $450 USD. For more information read: Renting an Apartment or House in Argentina
Note: To find a low-cost rental you must search outside of the high-season summer months December to March.
Best Place to Grocery Shop in Miramar
There is a chain supermarket – Toledos – yet your best bet to find budget deals and fill your bags full of all you need is to head to the intersection of Calle 19 and Diagonal Fortuna de la Plaza streets. On the corner is Autoservicio Venezia, small store with a tight-squeeze getting through the ailes yet chock-full of every deli item you could wish for and all the basics plus many imported items, including a large wine and spirits selection.
Next door to Venezia you have a bakery, then three doors down a carniceria (meat market) and huge fruit and vegetable kiosk across the street.
Two of the most popular take-out shops (no seating areas, only food to go) are located at this intersection as well – Grass with tortas, quiche, salads, pizzas, etc. and La Cocina de Mama – a rotiseria/parrilla with cooked meats, chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetable dishes, etc. sold by the kilo.
An espresso will cost approximately $1.75 USD and litre of Quilmes or Brahma beer only $1.75 USD (bought at a store, restaurant price around $4 USD).
A meal in a restaurant runs from $7 USD (choose the ‘menu del dia’ for best value) to $10 USD per person. You can purchase a bottle of wine for $2 USD and there are many specialty foods shops (including organic/wholefood shops great for vegetarians) – some closed during the winter months.
If you need a cadre of English-speaking expats awaiting your arrival in Miramar you will not find it. There are few English-speakers and only a handful of expats located in the area. It is a very traditional Argentine balneario (seaside resort) with many families and elderly living full-time but the bulk of the houses owned by wealthy Argentines who visit in the summer.
Want to visit Miramar and have ideas on where to stay, eat and things to do? Travel Guide to Miramar
- Mar del Plata – and its shopping & nightlife – only 40 minutes away
- Miles of Atlantic ocean shoreline virtually vacant during the winter but bustling with summer fun January & February
- Safe location for families, many kid-friendly activities and locals to interact with
- Small casino for small-time ($650 USD per month) gamblers!
- No large English-speaking community like you have in Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Bariloche. There is a church group with missionaries from the U.S.
- Winters are cold with strong winds. Great time to hop on the bus and play in the snow at Bariloche or Esquel!
Photograph of sidewalk cafe by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.